MIAMI, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre says he will announce plans next week to run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Ferre's entry into the race makes him only the second Hispanic Democrat to run statewide in Florida, the Miami Herald reported Friday.
"As far as I am concerned, this is a wide open race," Ferre says.
Florida's Senate seat is currently held by Republican George LeMieux who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist last month to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.
Observers say Ferre, 74, is entering the race months late and millions of dollars behind.
"The challenges to Ferre's campaign being a success are many and great," says Democratic political consultant Jeff Garcia of Miami.
To date, the leading Democrat for Florida's open seat is U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami who announced this week that he collected nearly $1.5 million during the first three months of his campaign.